Posted in Blog News, This is VCSSCamp

Is it different for trustees in a voluntary sector infrastructure organisation – CVS, Volunteer Centre etc?

This is a post which the VCSS Camp team and our colleagues are posting to keep the conversation going before the 25 June. Below Pauline Roche shares her thoughts on the role of a trustee in an infrastructure organisation.

Trustees Week 2013 logo
Trustees Week 2013 logo

This is the way I prepare for things – I research them – mostly on the ‘interweb’ (jovial term for the internet used by many of my friends) but also…no, hang on, I use only the net for research. And yet, I am reminded of the many contacts I have who know loads of stuff about loads of other stuff – maybe I should use my networks more.

I do use my networks, but I get impatient with ‘human’ time (the time it takes the average human to respond), and often end up surfing the web looking for the answer to something while waiting for a phone or email to be answered. One of my closest colleagues always says if you ask the right question, it will answer itself. But what’s the point of that? I’m asking a question because I don’t know the answer.

So I’m preparing for #VCSSCamp, the first ever (as far as we know) Unconference for voluntary sector infrastructure organisations in Britain, and I’ve been looking on the web for stuff to inspire me as a trustee of a voluntary sector infrastructure organisation (IO). I couldn’t find that much (and I’m a qualified librarian with years of desk research experience).

There are 3 sessions of 1.5 hrs each on infrastructure in a section called ‘Infrastructure Organisations in a Changing World’ on the second day of the 19th Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference in September with the following titles:
• Investing in innovative infrastructure: What are the distinguishing characteristics of support for innovation which is channelled through infrastructure organisations?
• Bridging the gap? The repercussions of the economic downturn for volunteering
• Local infrastructure organisations and chargeable services: a multi-sited ethnography

As a trustee, I can’t say that any of these particularly ‘speak’ to me about my role in supporting an IO, but maybe I need to re-think my role and the roles of my fellow trustees in the coming period. I don’t think there’s a specific group for trustees of IOs anywhere – do we need one? If I set one up, would anyone else come?

I’m posting this on the VCSSCamp blog and will also link to it on the UK Charity trustees group on LinkedIn and see if anyone else wants to at least discuss this topic. I welcome others thoughts and ideas.

In the meantime, here’s a few tweets I tweeted while I was prepping this prep – hope you like them:

Prepping for #VCSSCamp, came across this from @nesta_uk – are we in the #volsec abt #innovation? See pp 167-179

Tech & social media skills are best taught by sharing & passing on experiences. 2013 @CloreSocial Fellows storify

Another useful piece of reading for #volsec staff / #volunteers / #trustees coming to #VCSSCamp 25/6

Interesting reading for #volsec coming to and/or otherwise participating in #VCSSCamp 25/6, incl. #trustees:

For a start to my blog abt #trustees for #VCSSCamp on 25/6 at @innobham here’s a list of resources via @karlwilding



I connect charities, communities and funders to improve their practice using data, technology and the web. I do this for VCS SMEs and grassroots minority groups with @RnRWorks, through business support with @ShaktiWomen and through consultancy and communications support. I co-run VCSSCamp and Net Squared Midlands. I like connecting people and ideas, networking and carrot cake & hate people missing out on tech goodness, and brussels sprouts.

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